Reversing its oft-repeated position that it was acting only on behalf
of its clients in its exotic dealings with the American International
Group, Goldman Sachs now says that it also used its own money to make
secret wagers against the U.S. housing market...
...the wagers were part of a package of deals... AIG's losses on those deals [were] ultimately borne by taxpayers as part of the government's bailout of
Thank goodness that can't happen againBusiness as usual: "Goldman's proprietary trades with AIG in 2005 and 2006 are among those
that many members of Congress sought unsuccessfully to ban during recent
negotiations for tougher federal regulation of the financial industry."
If insanity is doing the same thing and expecting
different results, what do we make of this?
The world's rich countries are now conducting a dangerous experiment.
They are repeating an economic policy out of the 1930s — starting to cut
spending and raise taxes before a recovery is assured — and hoping
today’s situation is different enough to assure a different outcome.
We are sorry to announce that on June 26th at 10:46pm Amy Fields was in a heart breaking car accident in Mecklinburg (sic) County VA! She passed away...We are not sure how things will go from here but we will do the best to accomidate (sic) you in every way we can...
We were defrauded by Research 2000, and while we don't know if some
or all of the data was fabricated or manipulated beyond recognition, we know we can't trust it. Meanwhile, Research 2000 has refused to offer any explanation.
the recession, the economy lost a total of 7,281,000 million jobs. Of
these, 2,102,000 or 28% were construction workers. Given the massive
inventory overhang in the existing home sales market it is highly
doubtful that we'll see large construction employment gains in the near
We are now, I fear, in the early stages of a third depression. It will
probably look more like the Long Depression than the much more severe
Great Depression. But the cost — to the world economy and, above all,
to the millions of lives blighted by the absence of jobs — will
nonetheless be immense.
I remember finding Airplane! very, very funny when I saw it at the Janus on first run. It still makes me larf. Links to 30th anniversary stuff, including this comparison reel showing how source material from Zero Hour! gets funnified without being changed very much, here.
I think this was the first YouTube video ever posted at this blog:
A neighbor spotted a gray fox in her driveway this weekend. That's unusual for this long-settled part of town, even in an era when wildlife has learned to live with development.
Speaking of which: I don't remember seeing a lot of hawks around here when I was a kid. Now they're pretty common. What happened?
I was driving home from Durham last month and saw a hawk flying north across I-85 with a snake in its talons. That was kind of cool, although probably not from the snake's POV.
UPDATE from Steve Harrison, in the interesting thread below: Raptor
populations (especially hawks) have been recovering nationwide since DDT
was outlawed in the early Seventies...the red-tailed hawk has adapted
to suburban and even
urban territories nicely.
The responsibility facing the American people is clear. They need to
reclaim ownership of their army. They need to give their soldiers
respite, by insisting that Washington abandon its de facto policy of
perpetual war. Or, alternatively, the United States should become a
nation truly "at" war, with all that implies in terms of civic
obligation, fiscal policies and domestic priorities. Should the people
choose neither course -- and thereby subject their troops to continuing
abuse -- the damage to the army and to American democracy will be
Lisa has a couple of rows of vegetables in at a friend's farm in Browns Summit, so we were almost halfway to Reidsville when the dinner bell rang and we ended up at Short Sugar's on rib night, about which one cannot complain.
We drove around town for a while, planning future photographic and rib-eating excursions to one of the area's more interesting places. We cruised the huge old American Tobacco plant and criss-crossed the rail line ordained by Jefferson Davis, rolled through neighborhoods that could have been pulled from the work of Walker Evans and Harper Lee.
On the way home we turned off the AC and drove with the windows down and I bored Lisa with tales of General Scales and Junius Scales and the naming of Irving Park, and I found myself singing the old NC tourism jingle that rhymed "poem" with "home," which led me by some odd neural pathway to sing the Livingston Taylor NCNB jingle, and then the Pilot Life jingle, at which point she politely shushed me.
As shocking as Mr. Naman's insistence on taking Israel out of Judaism
may seem, it actually adheres to a consistent strain within Jewish
debate. Whether one calls it anti-Zionism or non-Zionism — and all these
terms are contested and loaded — the effort to separate the Jewish
state from Jewish identity has centuries-old roots.
Think about what the Politico is saying: an experienced beat reporter is
less of a risk for a powerful figure like McChrystal because an
experienced beat reporter would probably not want to “burn bridges” with
key sources by telling the world what happens when those sources let
their guard down.
It doesn’t get worse than "Grown Ups," Adam Sandler’s sloppy entry into this year's man-child-comedy sweepstakes. Lazy, mean-spirited, incoherent, infantile and, above all, witless...
Meanwhile, Scott Card and I finally agree on a movie, although how he knows the 3-D version he did not see is no good is a puzzler.
His question about free will and toy loyalty struck me, too. Card calls his own framing of these issues in terms of slavery "weird," but the real problem with it is that toy owners do not even suspect that the toys are sentient beings, so there is no rationalization required when treating them like objects. Whatever drama exists around this existential question -- and I agree, there is some -- it's all among the toys, which must struggle for meaning like small, plastic StephenCranes.
Bonus Toy Story 3 review: "[T]he film displays the same careless sexism as its predecessors."
There's a reasonable argument that Pixar films are boy-centric, although that critique overlooks the strong women in The Incredibles (which deserves more criticism for its ubermenschen mythos than its sexism).
But [spoiler alert!] it may be worth noting that the villain of TS3 is a male -- a male bear, but still -- not to mention a rip-off of the (male) villain of TS2, with the same abandonment issues faced by Jessie in that movie.
Elaine Marshall appears to have received a bounce in support following
her Democratic Primary runoff victory Tuesday and is now even with
incumbent Republican Richard Burr in North Carolina’s U.S. Senate race.
House and Senate conferees will soon determine whether two of the most
important pieces of the legislation are as robust as reformers say they
need to be, or whether big banks and other industries prevail in their
push for loopholes, carve outs, and other exemptions.
UPDATE: "Isner wins 70-68! After 11 hours 5 minutes
Again Mahut comes to the net and again Isner passes him, coolly, calmly
and collectedly. And the match is over. Poor Mahut looks all bemused
now, as if he doesn't know what to do with himself. There is now going
to be a presentation to mark the occasion - mementos to be given to
Isner, Mahut and Mo Layani the chair ump."
Wimbledon liveblog. Isner and Mahut, day three. Live scores here.
Fiscal tightening, while conservative in intent, leads to lower and lower growth in the short run. Tougher sovereign budgets produce government worker layoffs, pay cuts, reduced pension benefits and a drag on consumption and the ability of the private sector to accept an attempted hand-off from fiscal authorities. Recession becomes the fait accompli, and the deficit/GDP ratio moves ever higher because of skyrocketing risk premiums and a plunging GDP denominator. In many cases therefore, it may not be possible for a country to escape a debt crisis by reducing deficits!
I'm a little repressed. It works for me. I write a lot in the first person, but I keep a screen around parts of my life.
I believe there is value in what Mark Dery calls "the membrane between private 'I' and public self," and I share his concern over "electronic solipsism in public spaces," and I know all about the not-entirely-healthy compulsion to publish online.
But I think Dery misses the point when it comes to Jeff Jarvis and his posts about cancer and, well, as Jarvis says:
Dery reveals far more about himself than I reveal about me. All you know about me is that my penis doesn’t work well. What we know
about Dery is that he’s prudish, disapproving, controlling, Victorian,
media-obsessed, retrograde, predictable, snippy, snarky, and
self-righteous with some apparent penis and anus problems he should be
discussing with his shrink.
It helps that Jarvis is a funny, fluid writer. He's discussing something that needs to be discussed. I'd guess that he's helped a lot of people. And nobody, including Dery, is forced to read it.
I had a good phone conversation with Jon Hardister, who says his goal in discussing the oil-company liability cap is to "slow down and take a look at it." The candidate seems to welcome the public debate. He says he's seen some good points raised at blogs, that he's spoken to folks at the John Locke Foundation and taken some time to think about it, and that he'll post his conclusions soon at his blog.
We also discussed some ideas for campaign blogging. Nothing fancy, just stuff like links and blogrolling and using the site to document the daily life of the campaign in words and pics. As always, my thoughts and observations on campaign blogs are available for free to any candidate who asks.
Once a global financial meltdown was averted, the strategy for the underlying crisis was to pretend that there wasn't an underlying crisis, while shoveling free money to the banks for as long as it takes to get them healthy again.
And for the small people -- those without jobs, and those who saved and hoped to compound their savings -- well, too bad.